This is already the week of Qing Liu’s poker life. It could get legendary today. Last night, Liu won his first World Poker Tour title, outdueling 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event champ Joe McKeehen heads-up in the WPT Venetian Main Event. Things could get even better for him on Wednesday, though.
Early last year, Liu made the final table of the WPT Gardens Poker Championship, which is using the new format the Tour introduced in 2019 in which some final tables are delayed, to be showcased in Las Vegas in front of a crowd and the television cameras. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, those final tables had to be postponed. Three have finally been rescheduled and it just so happens that the one Liu is in takes place today.*
Thus, Liu could be the first person to win World Poker Tour titles on back-to-back days. To be honest, I didn’t research if this has ever happened, but I’m pretty sure it hasn’t. A couple players have one back-to-back titles, but the Tour stops were on their regular calendar schedule; the final tables were not on consecutive days.
This situation could happen again as the pandemic eases and live poker gets back to normal, or at least some semblance of normal. If the WPT’s delayed final table setup persists, players could make final tables in different Tour stops and then play them on consecutive days in Las Vegas if they just so happen to be part of the group of delayed final tables.
Liu, while most likely fantasizing about accomplishing such a feat, is being extremely modest when it comes to his chances. When asked last night if he thinks he can pull off the twofer, he said, “I don’t think so. I used up all my luck today. Tomorrow I won’t be so lucky.”
The champ is a Venetian regular, making it his home base for poker since moving to Las Vegas last year. His tournament resume on TheHendonMob.com looks like he lives at the Venetian, so it is fitting that he won this World Poker Tour event. He said he plays poker at the casino every day.
McKeehen himself was gunning to become one of just a handful of players to win the WSOP Main Event and a WPT title, but it wasn’t meant to be. He was the chip leader going into the final table and had almost a 2-to-1 chip lead on Liu heading into heads-up play, but Liu dominated the 23 hands. He finished it off with a suckout, flopping a 4 with K-4 against McKeehen’s K-7. But hey, nobody wins a tournament without at least a little luck.
2021 World Poker Tour Venetian Main Event – Final Table Results
- Qing Liu – $752,880
- Joe McKeehen – $491,960
- Roland Rokita – $363,235
- Jack Hardcastle – $271,050
- Kou Vang – $204,430
- Trace Henderson – $155,865
*The delayed final tables were supposed to be played at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor, but Allied Esports, the owner of both the World Poker Tour and the Arena, recently agreed to sell the WPT, so the final tables have been moved to PokerGO’s Las Vegas studio.